The Atlanta Falcons under Thomas Dimitroff have never been shy about moving up in the NFL Draft. Earlier this offseason, Dimitroff again alluded to that possibility for 2014, saying he was comfortable staying, moving up or moving down. It's a typical vague Comrade non-answer, but with the strength and depth of the class, it's also the right answer.
Well, Adam Schefter appears to have something a little more concrete, which leads us to this Tweet:
Atlanta Falcons are open to trading up in draft, per league sources. Falcons are first team known to be willing to go up.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 25, 2014
There are, as always, multiple possibilities here. The first is that the Falcons are starting to pump smoke into news outlets across America, hoping to drive moves from other teams and get themselves into the ideal position. Adam Schefter isn't immune to spin, after all.
The second possibility is that the Falcons are simply reiterating a past stance, and Schefter and others are going to run with it to create fresh interest. The Falcons have never ruled out trading up and there we plenty of rumors in February that they would consider doing so for Jadeveon Clowney, so it's possible that nothing has changed here and we're just getting latest in the hype cycle. Heck, this might not even be about the first round of the draft, in which case this report is beyond obvious.
The third possibility is that the Falcons either have been planning on a trade up or have recently begun to gear up for that possibility, in which case this is a legitimate leak and sets the cement around their draft plans a little bit. I think it's unlikely that the Falcons have locked onto this course of action in March, obviously, but there could be smoke here because there's a fire. If the Falcons can forge the parameters of a deal with a team like the St. Louis Rams ahead of the draft and assure they'll be able to move up if their top target is available, it might make sense to do so.
At the end of the day, I wouldn't put an enormous amount of stock in this report. I never thought the Falcons had ruled out a trade up, and while I don't necessarily view it as the likeliest outcome of the first round, you would be remiss to dismiss the possibility. If we start hearing this report over and over in the weeks leading up to the draft, we can revisit that stance.
ESPN reporting #Falcons are open to trading up in draft, which I believe we broke ... in January.— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzAJC) March 25, 2014
Do you believe the Falcons will trade up in this draft?